The Institute of Archaeology opened its 4th Archaeology Symposium today
at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. This year the gathering of archaeologists
and researchers will be taking a closer look at the collapse of the Mayan empire.
29 researchers from Belize, the U.S. and England will be presenting papers on
various aspects of the Mayan civilization collapse at various centers in the
country. Here's a preview.
Alfonso Noble Reporting,
As they gathered for the 4th annual Archaeological Symposium at the Bliss, most
of those in attendance were a far ways off from the ordinary work that they
conduct in the far reaches of the one glorious Mayan empire.. Today the digging
and excavation that was put in for the past year is presented in black and white
for consumption and digestion for the Institute of Archaeology. This yearly
event is now required to preserve the work and localize the knowledge from work
that is done in Belize.
Dr. Jaime Awe, Director - Institute of Archaeology
"The idea is for them to share the knowledge that they have gathered
from doing scientific research in the country of Belize. Many times I also say
that people have, we give people the privilege to do research in Belize. Their
obligation then is to share that knowledge with the Belizean people."
Mark Espat, Minister of Culture
"This symposium offers the researchers, the archaeologists, an opportunity
to share ideas to reveal the work that they have done over the last year at
he various sites in Belize, to document it and to ensure that the Belizean public,
the tourism stakeholders, and those interested in archaeology have an opportunity
to learn from the work that they have done."
And while the symposium brings together research and researchers all under
a single roof, Director of the Institute of Archaeology Dr. Jaime Awe says that
the event in itself is important but even more so is its meaning.
Dr. Jaime Awe,
"We are now running our own symposium where we bring people from all
those countries to come to Belize. And the beauty about ours is that ours totally
focuses on the culture that developed here in Belize to make it more relevant
to who we are."
This year the focus is on the terminal stage of the Mayan civilization in Belize.
Awe says that this age old question which has long puzzled archaeologists may
this year come closer to finding an answer.
Dr. Jaime Awe,
"The terminal classic period, which is the main topic for this year's
symposium, was the time when Mayan civilization declined. It is the time when
a lot of the big cities, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Lamanai, etc. Many of these places
were abandoned. Some were eventually re-occupied like Lamanai. But the importance
of this symposium is we will find out why is it that Mayan civilization crumbled.
Was it because of overpopulation? Was it because of some of their agricultural
practices? Was it because of their political system? and I think that by trying
to understand what happened then, may hopefully inform us of what not to do
now or in the future."
Hon. Mark Espat,
"To the general public the knowledge and the breakthroughs in research
of what happened in the 9th century in Belize to the Mayas, I think is very
important. As apart of learning about our past the rise, the decline, the up
and downs of the Maya civilization I think provides a very interesting view
into where we are in 2006 and where we've come from."
The symposium will run up to the end of this week.